All American: Bon Surprise

The Shazoom gelding goes for his next upset in the All American Derby on Sunday.

By Richard Chamberlain
Q-Racing Journal
August 29, 2013

bon accord

Bon Accord. PHOTO: Andrea Caudill

The $2.8 million All American Derby (G1) isn’t until this Sunday, and there already has been a big Derby upset. On August 17, Bon Accord defeated heavy favorite Wicked Courage at 34-1 odds in the trials.

“That was thrilling,” said J. Garvan Kelly, one of the partners who bred and races Bon Accord. “I knew we had a very, very, very fast horse. There were five people who knew how fast he was: Juan Aleman, the trainer; Francisco Rubio, who normally rides him; George Lucas; Nancy and myself. So we went to the window pretty good.”

Bon Accord is bred by Kelly of Culver City, California, and Nancy Yearsley, who now lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Yearsley is a bloodstock agent for American Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds, and owns Yearsley Bloodstock Insurance Services in Lexington, Kentucky.

An amateur middle-weight boxing champion in his younger days in his native Ireland, Kelly owns EIRE Stock Farms (for the constitutional name of the Republic of Ireland) at Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Kelly markets the Swedish-made Duxiana bed and has homes in Culver City and Palm Desert, California.

Bon Accord races for Kelly, Yearsley and Lucas’ Vinewood Farms, which joined the partnership in January 2012, four months before Bon Accord broke his maiden on first asking at Los Alamitos.

Bon Accord is by Shazoom, who from 14 crops to race has sired the earners of more than $20.5 million, including champions Shining Sky and Lett Her Zoom. The gelding is out of the Royal Quick Dash mare Dream Mirage, a Florida-bred out of the Gulch (TB) mare Mike’s Way (TB). A race winner, she is the dam of Grade 1 finalist Pipers Tune (by Bono Jazz, $76,823).

“We raised Bon Accord on Garvan’s farm at Broken Arrow,” Yearsley said. “He’s got a pretty strong Thoroughbred family behind him, the family of Dublin and some high-class Grade 1 sprinters up in Saratoga.

“Bon Accord is not a real heavy-topped horse,” she continued. “He can float over the ground pretty good without too much effort. But he’s been a challenge. He’s the kind of horse that has his own mind. He doesn’t like getting in the trailer, he doesn’t like to go back in his stall. The starting gate has been the biggest challenge. We had to experiment with different rigs. He would mess up at the gate and get himself disqualified. But for once, this time, we got it worked out!”

Kelly picks up the story.

“We’ve just had a lot of trouble with Bon Accord,” he said. “We had him in the Los Alamitos Two Million (Futurity, G1) trials, and we really thought we had a great shot to win that $2 million. But he stepped on a syringe needle on the way up to the track, probably in the receiving barn, and we had to scratch him at the gate. That was a crushing disappointment. An absolute 1-in-10 million shot to get a needle in a foot when you come up to the trials for a race like the Two Million as the 2-5 favorite. Unbelievable. The horse was training beautifully.

“We’d already had a bad enough disappointment in the Ed Burke (Futurity, G1),” Kelly recalled. “We had a nose rig on him, he was tied in there and he blew up in the gate when they were loading all the other horses. He’s not the greatest traveler, either, but we got him to Charley Hunt at Remington Park for the (Remington Park Olahoma Bred) Derby trials, and going into a 23 mph head wind he was the fourth fastest qualifier. Then in the final, he flipped over in the gate and they scratched him.

“Charley really did a good job with him at Remington, and after that, we changed how we handled him in the gate,” he said. “Charley and G.R. Carter did a lot of work with that horse. We put a bottom rig on him, with a little more freedom with his head. He just hates being confined and restricted, that’s his nature. So now with this rig underneath him he has more freedom. He hates anybody around his head – he just can’t stand it – so we had the head man back off for the All American Derby trial and just let the horse stand there alone, and he showed what he can do, because he was relaxed.”

Cross your fingers. Bon Accord faces the starter Sunday afternoon.

The All American Futurity and Derby are September 1-2 at Ruidoso Downs in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Extended coverage of the All American weekend is provided by the
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